Mayor: No fishing ban in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro amid oil spill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) – A day after the oil spill reached Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, the local government said residents can still head out to the sea to fish.

“Maaari pang pumalaot at mangisda ang ating mga kababayang mangingisda sa municipal waters ng Calapan City,” Calapan City Mayor Malou Morillo said on Friday.

[Translation: Our fishermen can still fish in the municipal waters of Calapan City.]

Morillo said the decision not to impose a fishing ban was reached after the meeting with local disaster management officials and upon the recommendation of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

According to Calapan City Administrator Raymund Ussam, experts from the BFAR reported that there’s still no indication that the fish in the area were affected by the slick.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito "Bonz" Dolor said on CNN Philippines' Newsroom Weekend on Sunday that the temporary fishing ban he earlier imposed only covered the waters off Barangay Navotas in Calapan, which may be lifted when BFAR's test results show that the fish in the area have not been affected by the spillage.

“Nag-announce ang city mayor na meron silang coordination with BFAR to determine (if there is contamination), I would respect that but as far as I am concerned, ‘yun pong Navotas pababa ay pinagbabawal pa rin namin ang pangingisda hangga’t walang result ang BFAR test,” Dolor said.

[Translation: The city mayor announced that they have coordinated with BFAR to determine (if there is contamination), I would respect that. But as far as I am concerned, we will still prohibit fishing in Navotas until the BFAR comes up with the test results.]

However, in a message to CNN Philippines after Dolor’s interview, Morillo explained that BFAR said fishermen can proceed with their livelihood in Navotas.

“What they have seen are only traces of oil and it is only in Brgy Navotas and the team of coast guard had already done their clean up operation,” Morillo wrote. “Hence BFAR told us that [they] can continue their fishing activities but we have our people monitoring all the [fish that] they have caught.”

CNN Philippines has sought clarification from the mayor on which directive will be followed.

Morillo earlier said that to ensure marine products are safe for human consumption, sensory inspection teams from Calapan Fisheries Management Office and the BFAR will constantly monitor markets and fish landing areas.

“Hinihikayat din po ang mga taumbayan na maging mapanuri sa mga palatandaan ng kontaminasyon ng mga isda at ibang lamang-dagat na ibinebenta sa ating mga pamilihan,” she added.

[Translation: Citizens are also encouraged to be critical of signs of contamination in fish and other seafood sold in our markets.]

On March 12, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said 137,230 individuals from 121 barangays in MIMAROPA and Region 6 were affected by the slick.

READ: Over 137,000 people affected by Mindoro oil spill – DSWD